Restoration Management Systems Grows Your Business In The Best Ways

restoration management system, restoration management software, restoration softwareIn today’s modern world, it’s uncommon to find a business that has yet to utilize technology in its day-to-day functions. Technology is convenient, efficient, and limitless. It increases business productivity, enhances client communication, and fosters consistent growth. 

From the experts at iRestore, here are 3 ways that the use of restoration management systems is crucial to the success of your restoration business. 

Restoration Management System

Better Customer Relationships

Maintaining strong customer relations is a huge factor in determining the success or failure of a business – especially in today’s world where people expect immediate and clear communication. Technology has changed the way businesses are able to connect with their client base. Not only does it store information that helps with analyzing customer patterns and feedback, but it’s also a great tool in organizing and providing quick access to important client information. At iRestore, we offer a robust customer relationship management system (CRM), which keeps track of useful information for past and current customers. This tool can help improve client communication on many levels. Whether you want to send a text or make a quick phone call, CRM makes it easy with just a click of a button.

Increase Business Productivity

Technology is key to increasing the productivity of not just the employees but the overall organization. It enables collaboration among team members and helps businesses utilize their services and function more efficiently.

Our restoration management software helps businesses keep track of the various components that come with running a cleaning and restoration company – including keeping track of jobs, equipment, and vehicles. This allows you to fully utilize your time, team, and resources to provide the best possible service for your clients.

Improve Employee Engagement 

Imagine how productive your employees can be if they’re able to access important information right when they need it. With just a click of a button, they can see what a certain job entails and what the available resources are. This meets the goal of enabling proper education and opportunities to employees so they can complete their work more efficiently and effectively. When employees have a clear understanding of their jobs, it allows a place for creativity and new ideas to take root.

In addition, having a management system in place can help with quickly integrating new hires by helping them see their roles and duties within the organization. 

Stay On Top Of The Restoration Industry With iRestore

Companies who resist or choose to forego investing in new technology will quickly be left behind in today’s global marketplace. If you have the budget and available resources, investing in technology will keep your business up-to-date in this rapidly changing world. If this is a challenge, there are still ways to utilize tech in a cost-efficient way. 

With the iRestore Restoration Management System, you’ll have a comprehensive solution to manage your entire business. Our software allows you to implement many of the points we mentioned above including organizing client communication, managing important jobs, and keeping track of equipment – all for an affordable price. Experience the difference in managing a business with iRestore Restoration Management System today.

Restoring Success Meets The Intentional Restorer: Nothing is Scarier than Scope Creep

I have three simple golden rules with a fourth to beware of that apply to the profitable execution of a scope of work.

  1. Get paid for what you do
  2. Do not pay more than you get paid
    1. Subcontractors
    2. Materials
  3. Manage your in-house manhours
  4. Mistakes happen and cost money; they must be managed to keep to a minimum.  Learn from mistakes and have a spirit of continuous improvement.

If we start with the premise of a job with a thorough and accurate scope of work, we now must execute it to company standards and objectives that may include quality, service, and profitability. The golden rules seem simple and like common sense; however, in my experience, it is the breaking of these rules that often result in missing the mark on profitability objectives.

Scope creep occurs in many facets and a variety of circumstances in our companies. In simple terms, it is when we deviate from the scope of work and fail to account for it in the revenues. It breaks the golden rules #1 and #2. The scope is typically the basis for a bill or estimate that represents the company’s revenues.  When we go outside the bounds of the scope without accounting for it, the operating results on the bottom line, can be quite frightening.

Scenarios

(Technician Level) Last Day of Water Mitigation: A technician is sent to pull the equipment, clean the living room carpet, and get a COS (Certificate of Satisfaction) signed.  

Homeowner: “While you are here, can you go ahead and clean the dining room carpet?”

Technician wants to please the very nice homeowner: “Sure, it would be my pleasure.” And so our well-intentioned technician cleans the carpet in the extra room, notices a red stain, goes to the truck for the spotting kit, proceeds to work on the stain and….

SCOPE CREEP is discovered when the job is two hours over in labor hours and the project misses the profitability target, or worse, that free service morphs into a nightmare.

(Estimator Level) Remove and Reset a Bathroom Vanity:  Homeowner decides they want a new vanity. The estimator/project manager is amicable as it does not seem that it will be any trouble to install the 36-inch-wide vanity that the homeowner will supply.  

Last day of job: Upon unwrapping the vanity, there is damage found to the cabinet. The homeowner asks the carpenter to just go get a new one in stock at the ABC Store. The carpenter goes and they are out of stock; the carpenter now must now schedule another day for pick up and to complete the tasks. This project is now all tricks and no treats and it gets worse when we discover the new cabinet is two inches taller than the old cabinet. Now, the mirror needs to be raised, the plumbing needs to be adjusted and…

SCOPE CREEP is discovered when this relatively small job is 10 labor hours over and has missed the profitability mark in addition to the customer experience turning into a horror saga.

(Executive Level) A Favor for A Friend: The owner or general manager calls all the staff to the conference room to make a special announcement, a good friend of theirs needs something done ASAP. 

When an owner, or a member of the people in a position of leadership team, brings in a project that is personal to them and wants the assignment bumped to the top of the list (regardless of what is going on) as a favor to a friend to make themselves look good, this sends a mixed message to the team. If you spend any amount of time trying to build a culture and a process that optimizes your ability to do things the right way, efficiently and with a touch of excellence, these “favors” demonstrate that there are exceptions to your values.

This favor for a friend is light on details and heavily loaded with unclear expectations. Because the normal processes have been overridden, the project is doomed to result in frustration for all parties involved.

SCOPE CREEP is discovered usually at the end of the project when the customer is unhappy, the production team is frustrated, and the owner is ready to howl at the moon. We can’t even talk about profit as there is none; this is a toxic dump of wasted energies. These projects are doomed from the beginning when they are set up as:

  • Scope = “Get it done.”
  • Budget/Price = “They’re good for it.”
  • Timeline = “Yesterday.”

The lack of an accurate and thorough scope of work and no expectations communicated to the team and customer has set the execution of the job to have the creepiest of outcomes.

Reasons Why this Happens

Emotional Discounting:  A friend of mine recently exposed me to this term and concept and I thought, YES! We do this often from doing little extra things without charging to rendering services free of charge. This article, How to Stop Offering ‘Emotional’ Discounts, explains it well and offers some tips on how to stop or control the phenomenon.

Not understanding the scope:  If those who are charged with executing the scope are not trained to understand it, scope creep is inevitable. Within most of the estimating systems used in our industry, a line item includes a very specific amount or type of activity, labor, and materials. If those executing the scope do not understand it, it will be challenging or impossible to manage it to budget and/or know when to communicate/address deviations in the scope through your company process (i.e. supplements and/or change orders).

How do we train and empower our team to prevent scope creep?

In the carpet cleaning scenario above, it’s important to understand the motivation. The technician wants to do a good job, they want to please the customer, and they should be empowered to find ways to make this happen. I try to train our teams with the mindset of:

  • Do It Right
  • Do It Efficiently
  • Do It Excellently

While well-intentioned, what are a few of the things that could make this carpet cleaning and red stain removal scenario into a Nightmare on Elm Street? Have you heard the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished?” Whether we are doing scope work, change orders, or complimentary add on, we need to document our scope, clarify the expectations, and track the cost (even if it is a no charge). Within the organization, clear protocols on any deviations of scope and/or supplements need to exist and be clearly communicated to team members.

Small favors like carpet cleaning could lead to our team owning a carpet that we cleaned as a gesture of good faith. That tiny red stain could become the Creature from the Loom Lagoon, leading to a spread of toxic ooze. Additionally, those two unaccounted for hours could set the technician back from their next project and the accumulation of upset customers grows into a horde of Zombies who want to eat our flesh.

One suggestion would be to bake in the carpet cleaning after a mitigation or repair project as a satisfaction add. The book Be Intentional: Estimating outlines the importance of developing a consistent estimating process to produce better insurance claims outcomes. Empower technicians to understand:

  1. The law of unintended consequences, not making them cynics but considering the big picture.
  2. Understanding that even if we do something for “free” we need to document, get authorization of the agreed scope/outcome.
  3. Communicate with the whole team so the impact to the schedule can be accounted for.

How to Minimize SCOPE CREEP

Training and education will help minimize scope creep. From understanding scopes to company-specific processes, training should be position-appropriate and timely to the individual’s ability to contribute to the successful execution of scopes. Some team members may be responsible to execute a work order or specific instructions and not necessarily follow a complex scope, following instructions is a skill that should be deliberately developed in team members and will help control scope creep that occurs when instructions are disregarded or not followed. Scary things happen when, People Don’t follow Instructions.

Metrics and Review Systems are important to be able to proactively manage scope creep and develop the team’s abilities. Red Flags can help you identify a job that may be going in the wrong direction, identify team members that may need training, and/or identify weaknesses in company systems.

Empowerment and trust in the team will help engage them in keeping scope creep under control. Empowerment includes giving appropriate authority to execute or manage deviations from scope. For example, different positions may have different levels of authority to fully execute a change order. Give the appropriate tools and resources and the ability to use discretion and exercise good judgment when appropriate.

Don’t be scared of scope creep; manage it proactively as a team. Although it is in our nature as restorers to go above and beyond to help those we serve through a difficult time, margins are thin and overhead continues to grow. We cannot afford excessive scope creep even when it is well=intentioned.

Thank you to Jon Isaacson, The DYOJO Podcast for collaborating on this edition. Some bonus thoughts and tips from Jon to help us enjoy Restoring Success…

Those in a position of leadership must lead by example or there is no standard.

In the scenarios involving estimators and owners above, the issue is with lack of clarity on the scope, expectations, cost, and duration of the project. While emergency response is inherent to our work, chaos should not be accepted and The DYOJO shares ways in which an organization can reduce dysfunction in their video on this topic.

When a client makes a “small request” for an alteration to their project, they often honestly have no frame of reference for how this new scope affects the existing production plan. Unfortunately, many estimators and managers don’t understand these impacts either.

In his book, Joy, Inc., Richard Sheridan shares a simple process that his software design team uses for project management. I was surprised in reading the book how many parallels there were between scope creep in these two disparate industries. To ensure that clients, team members, and the organization are on the same page, the aspects of the work are assembled on index cards. An index card associates scope with time budgeted to complete the task.

The design team regularly meets with the client. In these meetings, if a client wants to make a change without affecting the duration or cost, they must pull index cards from the project board. There has to be an equal reduction of scope/cost/duration to account for new items. This is a simplified account of the process but there is nothing better than making it visible and helping all parties to see the impacts of “just a little change.”

  • Doing it right as a company includes ensuring the client, carrier and your production team are clear on what the scope of work is as well as what it isn’t.
  • Doing it efficiently as an organization means that all parties in the process are engaged in being able to read the scope, execute the scope and communicate when there are legitimate deviations.
  • Doing it excellently as a team requires everyone to be trained to read a scope clearly, communicate consistently and hold each other accountable to doing the right thing the right way.

Restoration Operations Overview With iRestore – Free Webinar Sept. 29, 2020

 

Restoration industry experts Ryan Smith and Lisa Lavender will be hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 to discuss insights and ideas of managing a restoration company through iRestore Restoration Industry Software.

Let’s face it, managing an efficient and smooth functioning restoration company can be chaotic and overwhelming. With so many moving parts and pieces in a restoration job, organization can become a challenge. In this webinar, We’ll go over some proven tactics in managing individual jobs, relationships, people, equipment, vehicles and more. 

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the restoration industry, someone who’s just got started, or someone who’s considering joining, this webinar will be beneficial to your goals and vision for your company. iRestore Restoration Industry Software has proven time and again in being an effective tool in keeping the processes of your business moving, allowing you to better serve your clients. 

We look forward to connecting with you at the webinar!

Registration Instructions:

Register in advance for this webinar: https://tinyurl.com/yx8ps5lp

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Who should attend: Restoration and Service Companies that are looking for a comprehensive software solution to run jobs and their company. Current iRestore companies who want to check out some new features or have any of their team members get an overview.

Access PDF here: iRestoreWebinar9-2020

Be Your Clients’ Hero With iRestore Restoration Industry Software

restoration management softwareRestoration professionals are in a unique position to help bring peace of mind to people who are in stressful situations after experiencing property disasters. Home and business property damage restoration is a highly specialized service, and your local communities rely on you to help restore their homes, businesses and bring safety and comfort back to their lives.

The question you should ask yourself is, “will you be able to meet your community’s expectations and provide the service they deserve?”

iRestore Restoration Industry Software

Restoration Industry Software provides the tools restoration owners need to organize and manage their teams and deliver the best results for individuals suffering from property loss. Restoration Industry Software is designed specifically for restoration companies with many different, specialty features. Let’s take a look at those. 

Quality Communication

Communication is key to making any relationship work, especially when it comes to client relations. The Client Relationship Management (CRM) system allows you to maintain communication at a company and individual level, for both previous and current customers and subcontractors. You’ll notice a difference as you utilize tools that build and nurture long-term relationships through strategic and meaningful approaches. 

The CRM system provides a way for you to organize all contacts by company and location, manage contact-related tasks and follow-ups, keep track of referral and contact reports, and email/call your contacts with just a click of a button! 

Customers are your company’s greatest asset. Another feature, the Human Resources System, is fully integrated into iRestore Restoration Industry Software and will help you stay on top of important information like clients’ birthdays and Respirator Fit Test due dates. Insurance agents, Adjustors, and their Insured’s like to be well-informed during the restoration process. Maintaining good communication will ease their stress and increase their trust in you. 

Increased Efficiency In Serving Clients

Want to show your clients that you value their time and money? Get organized. Being organized supports work quality and efficiency, which ultimately shows your clients that you care.

The engineered Job Management System in iRestore’s Restoration Industry Software allows you to manage every aspect of the critical information you need for a job. The system is user friendly and can be accessed on your phone, iPad, and desktop. It has an intuitive design the helps you manage your jobs, communicate, document, and report. On top of that, all of the information is linked to our CRM, which works directly with managing and developing client relationships. 

In addition to Job Management, iRestore Restoration Industry Software also manages equipment and vehicles. Imagine how your business would operate if you had an organized system that managed your equipment and vehicles.

Equipment Management features include equipment tracking with a number system that allows for useful reporting, equipment data, and repair and maintenance records. Vehicle Management records allow for easy tracking of operational costs, vehicle-related occurrences, inspection and renewals, and various vehicle data.

Implementing iRestore Restoration Industry Software will help keep your team organized and remain effective to best meet the needs of your clients. Contact us today and we’ll get you started on providing the best customer care possible.

The New Age of Restoration Training

One of the greatest challenges in our industry has been finding “good” people. Once you do find a good one, they still likely need training and on-boarding, the next challenge. The year 2020 will go down in history as the year of challenges and it is in the spirit of overcoming these obstacles that rapid developments and opportunities present themselves. Training, employee development, and on-boarding solutions that are now at the forefront of our industry and may be the keys to overcoming many of our age-old challenges including but not limited to:

  • Technical Training
  • Soft Skills, Operations, Management Training
  • Employee Engagement and Development
  • On-boarding
  • Accessibility of Training
  • Time/Resources/Money
  • And more

The Journey of the Restoration Technical Institute

As I reflect on the last six months and how it has impacted training for the Restoration Technical Institute, the individuals, and the companies in our industry, I cannot help but to think of one of my favorite stories about a farmer, “Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?”. As events unfold, we do not know what is next, we do not know the end of the story; it’s not a single event that will define an outcome, but rather a series of events.

2018: We began “dabbling” in the world of on-line training. We had long-term goals and visions. However, for the next two years, our focus and development were on our in-person programs and hands-on approaches to training.

February 2020: Our training center was full of cheer as we held packed classes of IICRC WRT (Water Restoration Technician) and IICRC ASD (Applied Structural Drying).

March 2020: We had to cancel five months of classes that were planned more than a year ago. Thankfully, earlier in the year, RTI teamed up with ISSA to provide training and education for the cleaning and restoration industries.

April 2020: RTI recognized that ISSA offers a very robust Online Learning Institute, which is stockpiled with courses and content that is needed by everyone in cleaning and restoration. Although we have been working informally with ISSA for several years, the time came to go to another level. We are now a training partner with ISSA.

ISSA has a history of developing content and certification, with self-paced online learning. CMI, a division of ISSA, offers a high-quality learning management system (LMS) that is full of content and tools to engage subscribers and manage the learning process. Cleaning, disinfection, sales, management, and safety are just a few of the related subject matters that ISSA and their divisions offer. It is with great excitement that we have been given the opportunity to collaborate with and add to the vast amount of resources and expertise available through ISSA and its divisions.

May 2020: As the IICRC adapted, many of our courses became approved for online live stream. We hosted our first online, live-stream water class.

June – September 2020: The last several months have been an amazing whirlwind with the objective of offering accessible and affordable training and resources globally. The highlight reel of the last couple of months includes but is not limited to, what I describe as our continuous learning, adapting, and pivoting to the world, opportunities, and most importantly to the demand and expectations of those we serve:

  • LMS Subscription: Working diligently on content and curriculum to serve our industries.
  • Instructional Design: Learning about the technology, approaches, and the discipline of instructional design. Collaborating with instructional designers to develop courses and content that are effective for today’s learners.
  • Continuously evolving our live offerings both on-line and in person.
  • Self-Paced Course Development: Creating content, videos, and courses to present.

Learning Management Systems & Self-Paced Learning

In a Fresh Look at Online Training, you will gain some insight to the general training landscape, the benefits and some tips to utilize the new opportunities available to you and your teams. Although e-learning is not new (in 1924 the first “automatic teacher” was presented), if you have some reservations about the effectiveness of self-paced learning and learning management systems, I defer to many other industries in a variety of disciplines who have successfully utilized this approach and have enjoyed positive outcomes and some statistics:

Events that initially seemed like bad luck for industry training have turned into really, good luck. Learning management systems and self-paced learning are two viable solutions to some of our industry’s greatest hurdles. If you have not experienced these types of training approaches, it is not what one may imagine when you think of a recorded type course or training. It is not just a recorded voice and power point slides. Some of the elements you may see within this realm include but are not limited to:

  • Gamification: Content may be presented in interactive ways that help teach and engage the learner.
  • Knowledge Checks: Interactive and well-timed knowledge checks are used to engage the learner, give confidence in the understanding of the materials, and reinforce important learning objectives.
  • Video Demonstrations: Videos help to mix the media and can be used to communicate and tie together a variety of topics. Video demonstrations are particularly helpful to present practical applications and demonstrate tactile skills.
  • Micro-learning: As an approach, you may find content divided into small sections of approximately 10 minutes or less. This approach is getting a great deal of attention based on a variety of results and feedback from learners.
  • Experienced instructors guiding learners through curriculum and demonstrations.
  • Soon, expect to hear more about virtual and augmented reality as the technology and its availability is rapidly evolving.

The training world is evolving rapidly and could help us all achieve more, Restoring Success.

Originally Published: R&R Magazine Online